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With FDA's Soy Health Claim Approval Comes Potential New Food Products.

Last month's approval of the soy protein health claim by FDA sparked the interest of many food manufacturers. The health claim's petitioner, Protein Technologies International (PTI), St. Louis, Mo., believes this is just the boost that soy needs in the consumer marketplace.

PTI has been "working to prove the health value of soy; so that soy protein is seen on the same level as meat, eggs or milk protein," said Ed Coco, co-president of PTI. Coco told F&DW with the health claim ingredients makers are able to demonstrate to food manufacturers that soy is healthy and FDA's health claim puts the government's backing behind the numerous scientific studies conducted around the world. The studies point to a scientific agreement that consuming soy products lowers LDL (low-density lipoprotein) or "bad" cholesterol.

Isolated soy protein is a complete protein and is equivalent in protein quality to milk, meat or eggs without the cholesterol and saturated fats found in these foods. Isolated soy protein is 90 percent protein on a dry weight basis, with virtually all of the fat and carbohydrate removed. Soy protein is used in the manufacturing of meat, poultry, meat and poultry analogs, bars, beverages and many other familiar food products. Soy also is consumed as tofu, tempeh and miso and as soybeans, soynuts, soy milk, soy yogurt and soy cheese.

According to PTI, in 1997 soy-based foods accounted from more than $1.6 billion in retail sales, and have experienced an average annual sales growth of more than 10 to 15 percent every year since 1980. By next year, sales of soy-based foods in the United States are expected to exceed $2 billion.

Coco says every major food manufacturer will come out with a soy product. Last week, for example, Hain Foods said in its quarterly financial report that consumer interest and sales of soy foods, already at record levels, are expected to increase their significant upward trend as a result of FDA's approval of the soy protein health claim. Hain Foods said industry sales of soy beverages alone are up over 80 percent in grocery distribution channels for the latest quarter ending September and Hain's Westsoy brand, which currently has 12 products that meet the FDA requirements, continues to post strong growth that is in line with the industry. "We are in the forefront of introducing new innovative products," Ham said. Other products that Hain expects to distribute by mid-2000 include: Westsoy Creme de la Soy, the first aseptically-packed, all natural coffee 'creamer' made with organic soy beverage; and Hain Kidz Pasta twists meal cups in Cheese and Tomato 'n Cheese.

PTI is working on future health claims to be submitted to FDA, Coco said. These efforts will include the benefits that soy has for lowering the risk of coronary heart disease, and the benefits of soy for alleviating the symptoms of menopausal women.

Coco said consumers have a right to know what is in their food and believes FDA and USDA are probably the best food regulators in the world. He suggested that enhanced foods with consumer beneficial properties be labeled. For example, a high-oleic soybean oil could be labeled heart-healthy. However, Coco does not believe that labeling for the sake of labeling is the best method. Coco says once the very significant benefits of biotechnology are realized by the majority of consumers acceptance of this technology will come in the near future.
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Comment:With FDA's Soy Health Claim Approval Comes Potential New Food Products.
Publication:Food & Drink Weekly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 15, 1999
Words:567
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